Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why "Be Safe" are Not Just Words

Hurricane Sandy ravages Staten Island's North and West Shores

You are not supposed to mess with natural disasters, ignore evacuation orders, think that you know better, that media yet again is blowing it out of proportion. Hours before hurricane Sandy hit New York,  I was watching journalists interviewing people who decided to stay in their homes and ignore the government's plea to evacuate. Everyone was saying the same thing: we left last year during the hurricane Irene and nothing bad happened, so this year we are standing. I was immediately struck by the illogic of their thinking: how can you compare one hurricane to another? As if these natural monsters always strike the same way, damage the same property and injure the same people? And on top of that, people were making the comparison after they've been told a number of times that the coming storm is entirely different from the last year's one.
So why can't we learn a lesson unless we experience firsthand this danger, the deathly breath of the calamity we otherwise refuse to believe is possible. Do we really have to look the death in the face to practice caution? I remember coming to the nearby park a few days ago to sit in the quiet of the nature with my book, to enjoy some crisp autumn air. But as I went deeper into the park, I realized that I was the only person there. Such an eerie but almost exciting feeling of being all by myself in this magic kingdom of trees. But instantly I had the alarming thought that many crimes happen in secluded parks and should I get attacked, I could count on no help.  I was already there, hypnotized by the incessant rustle of the falling leaves, itching to get immersed in my book and forget the world. So I stayed. And only later I thought it through and realized how it was not worth the risk. Nothing bad happened this time, it's possible that nothing bad will ever happen but why mess with my luck?
When we get the warning the first time we listen and comply, by the second and third times we begin to lose vigilance. I heard that new drivers are less likely to have accidents the first year they are driving in spite of their far-from-perfect driving skills. But they are still afraid so they pay attention and practice safe driving. But as they get more confident they engage in some risky maneuvers that don't end so well.
Our problems begin when we lose fear and replace it with self-confidence. Maybe it's good for career growth or with personal aspirations, but when it comes to mother nature and basic safety precautions, you don't consider yourself invincible. You don't make silly jokes to stress your fearless nature but think back about all the past victims of a similar disaster. You ask yourself: what can I do to keep me and my family safe. And then you do it even if the whole world laughs in your face. Because we've all learned at some point the bitterness of "I told you so"  and it's better to waste your time but stay safe than keep your cool just to lose everything in the end.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dealing with Rush

What is my average day like? It's a constant struggle to keep up - with time, my own demands to myself, my to-do lists with half the items remaining unchecked at the end of the day. And then there's this buzzing irritation, annoyance that is always in the background: why cannot I just live instead of being in a state of preparation for living?
Sometimes I believe that if only I got non-important things out of the way, I could focus on things that matter, where my undivided attention should be. But before I get to that matter of importance, I need to make sure nothing will distract me: my house is clean, the meals are cooked, the laundry is done and clothes are put away. It's just that once I finish the full cycle of house work, the new one begins almost right away. All I really get in between is a couple of hours, when I'm too tired to tend to serious things and would rather watch a light-mood movie.
So what is the solution to end my daily race, to dig out some time for myself from a pile of never-ending chores? Up to this point all my to-do lists and time-management plans have failed simply because I run out of time before I run out of things to do. Maybe the only true solution is to start the day with that one thing, that I believe to be the most important. Even if it's something trivial like finishing a book. Or something more productive such as creating a photo book about our recent trip. And then maybe that feeling of satisfaction, the pride that I actually got something accomplished will serve as the fuel to get everything else done.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thinking Out Loud

There are some lessons I've learned lately, about life in general and about myself. You can seek balance in life but you can't get too comfortable. Wrapping yourself with cushions all around leaves you too vulnerable to an accidental blow - and you may rest assured it will come sooner or later. Occasional troubles and issues to overcome keep you prepared enough for a serious challenge. Strive to achieve harmony and peace but don't count on perfect weather conditions to last endlessly.
My rich inner life seems so much more interesting than life around me, that I make less and less effort to live for real. The actual life has too much room for disappointment whereas the flow inside my head can be adjusted to my liking. But rather than shutting the doors, I need to uncover the channels that will let some parts of my essence exit and mingle with the world. And everyone will benefit from this liberation - I will be a more interesting, genuine person to be around, and at the same time it will encourage a more meaningful interaction and provide me with additional food for thought, without which I start to malfunction.
Living on the wrong assumptions can go on for years and totally screw up your way of thinking and your perception. Until you are given a glimpse of what it's like to be on the other end, when people think of you what they shouldn't based on the misinterpretation of the signals. Which leads to the question of me misinterpreting those very signals in the past. So even if you establish that something is true, you should still leave room for doubt, unless your suspicion was confirmed by words said out loud. And even then the chance is remaining that it's not 100% so.
My recent conclusions show that whatever direction you pick, you only go straight for that long. Sooner or later you reach the point where you either deviate slightly or turn 90 degrees and determine that you were wrong and the opposite of your previous views is true. Nothing is certain in life and exploring the multiple theories regarding some important aspect of it can lead to surprising discoveries.
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